Do you have a product or service that you’ve been wanting to launch, but have it in your head that every single piece of it has to be perfect? This concept of over-professionalizing typically leads to launches being delayed, or worse, never happening.
In episode 73, Megan Martin joins us to discuss how the creative industry’s obsession with over-professionalized content and how that concept is keeping you from moving the needle forward in your product and business! Listen in as she helps us navigate through this roadblock!
Get to Know Megan (1:36)
The Digital Lab (5:29)
Pushing Through Roadblocks for Your Idea to Get it Created (10:55)
1. Put your blinders on—unfollow the people who are distributing the content that you can’t.
2. Go Ugly Early: If you’re going to put something bad out, do it early.
Reality TV vs. The News in Comparison to Over-Professionalizing Your Content (14:44)
How to Innovate When You feel Like the Industry is Oversaturated (16:51)
1. Don’t focus on innovation in how you’re presenting your content.
2. Think about how you can innovate your customer service compared to what’s on the market.
3. Focus on your product and how it transforms your client.
Unpopular Opinion (22:43)
Review the transcript for this episode below >>
Laylee Emadi 0:05
Welcome to so here’s the thing where we share candid conversations that lift the veil on what it takes to find success, even if that means sharing a few unpopular opinions. I’m your host Laylee Emadi, grab some coffee or cocktail, and let’s get real.
Laylee Emadi 0:22
Hey friends, welcome back to the show. Today we are joined by the one and only Megan Martin who I adore. She is a web designer. And she is the founder of the digital lab, which is an amazing membership. I’m actually a part of it, I’ve had the honor of being a guest expert inside of it. And I cannot rave about it enough. Make sure to check that out. Of course, we’ll link everything in the show notes. But you can just look up the digital lab. And trust me, you need this if you are any kind of creative entrepreneur, and you want to create any kind of digital products, but I’m gonna let Megan tell us more about that in a second. I adore her. I love her candor. I love how open and generous she is with her knowledge and just completely transparent with her audience. She’s such a joy to follow on the internet. I feel like we were internet friends before we met in real life. And I have always adored her. So I’m really excited to hear all about her take on why our industry’s obsession with over professionalized content is keeping you from moving the needle in your business because man that sounds like all of us. So okay, Megan, I’m gonna let you tell us about your journey, why you’re passionate about this topic, and a little bit more about how you got to where you are today.
Megan Martin 1:36
Thank you Laylee. First of all, I adore you right back. Um, yeah, love how our friendship has grown from like Instagram following each other to I just really connect with you. So I’m really honored to be here on the podcast today. And Yep, I’m Megan. And I help creative entrepreneurs turn what they have no love, and already do into a digital product that they can sell and start earning some passive revenue. And I am pumped to talk about this topic. I think we as a creative industry, were I would say like, as a creative industry, I feel like we’re a preteen at this point, like the creative industry is not that old, in terms of what it is now. But I don’t feel like we’re be babies anymore. And so I feel like a lot of us have come out of the era where I’m thinking about Instagram. And when Instagram didn’t have the current algorithm when it was like chronological and we were constantly posting all the time. You know, we it’s almost like we were trained into creating content that’s so hyper professionalized. And now that we’ve moved into where we are at, currently, in this day and age, I feel like we’ve taken that with us to the point that it becomes such a roadblock to do anything. And the internet and technology and the amount of content going out in the world has only increased. since the days of chronological posting has ended, right? there’s just there’s so much noise out in the world. And it’s like we we have this rushed feeling that we need to get up, we need to get out there, we need to put ourselves out there. But we’re also like, tied down by this hyper professionalized expectation of ourselves. And then we just sit on our ideas, and we sit on, like the mission that we have, and that we should be stepping into. We sit on it forever, right. And so I hope to encourage you guys through this episode, to reframe your thinking on how to put yourself out there in a way that is unique and feels good to you. But it doesn’t have to be these crazy expectations that we’ve created for ourselves.
Laylee Emadi 3:48
I love that you brought up the whole Instagram, what it used to be and what it is now in relation to this concept of over professionalized, you know, I guess the mindset behind it, because I’ve never thought of those two things in conjunction, but actually, I, when you said that it sparked this memory of sitting in a like a class at show it united. It’s a photography conference. For those of you who don’t know, and I was in the class on social media, this was like six years ago, I think. And the speaker is actually really well known now. Like she wasn’t at the time. And now she’s like this massive, massive, well known name in the industry, she gave the advice that you should never post an uncurated never post a an iPhone photo, never post something that has not been perfectly captured and edited. And at the time, I guess maybe at the time, that was true, I don’t even know. But now that couldn’t be further from the truth. And I think if we think about it in those, you know, in that kind of mirrored way to content that you’re putting out in a digital product forum, or like a course or whatever it is, man that’s so refreshing. And in fact, my course I sat on my idea for my course. That creative educator Academy. I sat on that for like two years because I was so stressed out about hiring a videographer and making it perfect. And then when I finally did it, I ended up doing it myself anyway. So I’d love to hear like, I know, I know your backstory with a digital lab. But I’d love to hear how long did you sit on that idea before you actually brought it to fruition? And I will let you tell it because I already know the answer. But I love hearing it because it’s such a like, kick in the pants for me.
Megan Martin 5:29
Yeah. So digital lab was something that the idea just sparked over breakfast, Jeremy and I were having breakfast one day, and it was literally a year and two weeks ago today of recording this podcast, we were sitting at breakfast. And we had this idea we had been tossing around the idea of how can we create a membership because you know, having recurring income in your business is such a powerful source of revenue, right? it stabilizes your business. And so we knew we were wanting to enter the membership model. But of course, we’re not just going to create a membership for membership sake, we wanted to make sure it was something necessary and needed in the market and something that we could serve our people really well with. And I had previously launched a course about a year prior to that time. And ever since I launched that course, I just thought, man, how can I help people get out there and actually start creating passive revenue, because there’s a lot of information out in the world, but but I just know that people sit on these ideas forever, and then don’t move in it don’t move because they’re overwhelmed. And so we’re having breakfast. And this idea starts that maybe this is the perfect spot for a membership, maybe I could help people create and sell digital products and a membership form. And all these little pieces just clicked. And we’re like, Okay, this is it, we’re going to create a membership to help people create digital products. And within six days, we went from like idea to I sent a launch email in six days. That’s how long I sat on it. So when we launched digital lab, there was literally nothing in the product. It was like a container on kajabi that was like, Hey, this is where all of the content of this membership will one day live. And I sent out an email and I started a Facebook group. And we were so intentional from the get go that we were not going to bottleneck ourselves with over professionalized content. It was like one of the first conversations Jeremy had after we had this ideas. Okay, how can we show up and make this easy? I think it’s Tim Ferriss that, like, influences Jeremy in this way. But just like, what can we do to make this easy to fail proof, this product, or this offer that we’re gonna put out, right. And so for us, it was like the idea of having to create slides for all of our content, and then record with fancy video, and like having different angles of my face, like, you know what I mean, to keep it engaging, or whatever it is that youtubers tell us that we have to do right, also editing video, and then adding cool effects into all I mean, that alone, process wise would have taken hours and hours just to put one piece of content out into the world. And Jeremy and I have this belief that like the internet just moves too fast for this, the internet is like constantly churning up information. And so by the time it took me, you know, however many days and changed hands to create this over professionalized content, I bet the industry would have changed. You know, that’s how fast we’re changing these days. And so, to come onto the scene, and say, we’re gonna do this raw, we’re going to do this real, I’m going to open my screen, and I’m going to screen share, I’m going to show you exactly how I do this step by step. And I’m cutting out all of this part that’s going to make it not easy for us to get this information in your hands. And it worked. it resonated. I mean, we grew to over 1000 members within five months. And that’s one of the things that people say they love so much about the digital lab is that it’s literally like getting an inside look at somebody’s business because I’m not trying to show up any other way than what the reality actually is.
Laylee Emadi 9:06
That is so refreshing A and B dang girl 1000 members in whereby after a six day from idea to like, implementation is insane. And so I think it’s so motivational to hear you share that because you’re sharing it from way that’s like, it wasn’t perfect in six days. Its intent was never to be perfect or over professional. And like, Wow, what a refreshing take on providing education. I always say you know, good content over the way things look or the way things are presented. It’s so, so important. And I think it’s really hard to remember that in a in a time that we’re living in where aesthetics and the way that things are, you know, perfectly curated, are taking over our, you know, societal life. And so I love hearing that because I think that the proof is In the amount of people who are still members in your membership, like if you’re making impact if you’re making transformations happen for people, that’s what’s important. So what would you say to somebody you are, as you’ve shared an array, maybe I shared this about you, or maybe we just talked about earlier. But in enneagram, seven, I can talk about it a lot. As somebody who I am a two wing three or three week three wing to I don’t even know anymore. But I’m definitely more on like the perfectionist scale and the like, you know, I get in my own way a lot. And I think a lot of a lot of people are that way. What do you say to somebody who feels that roadblock of like, Oh, I just don’t know if I can do this. Like, it’s a great idea. But I don’t know. And maybe, maybe the industry does change so much that by the time I do it, it’ll be over. And it’s not going to be successful. Like, how do you push through that to get to the point where you’re like, six days later, here’s my thing.
Megan Martin 10:54
Yeah, I would say, first of all, I think, especially when it comes to save, we’re talking about digital products, and you get an idea. I think it’s natural for us to look to those of us who have gone before us, right? So I’m thinking about, like the giants of our industry, specifically in the small business world, and people who are teaching us as business owners, those are the people that we’re naturally looking to. And we see them and we know because they tell us very loudly that their seven, eight figure earners, right? And what would that look like for you to be a seven or eight figure earner, right? Your whole entire business would be completely different. You would have an entire team of people behind you to support you and do all of the tiny bits of the work to create this over professionalized like hyper professionalized experience, right. And so I think we look to these people who are educating us, and we see how they’re doing it, we see their beautiful videos, we hear their podcast with like, the most professional audio, right. And so we start to think, man, that’s how I’m supposed to be putting myself out there. In order to do this. Well, in order to make money, right, nobody’s gonna want my stuff. If I don’t do it at this caliber of level. Well, I would say, to put your blinders on for a hot second, maybe unfollow some of these people that are so so professional. And it’s not to say that they don’t do a great job. Like, that’s, if you have the resources to be so professional, go for it, do it, like do what makes you happy. But if you’re holding yourself back, because you’re seeing these examples of these amazing, gorgeous quality work, and you know that you cannot get to that level, then maybe you need to put your blinders on for a second and mute those people. And that way you can focus on you and your mission. And I would just encourage you as well to say, start, like go ugly, early, you know, put yourself out there and go ugly, I don’t even remember where I heard this quote, but go ugly early, like you’re gonna put yourself out there and you’re gonna, you’re probably your first video is gonna look horrible. It’s gonna sound horrible, you know, but even just that exercise of doing it, accomplishing it, and putting it live is going to give you more confidence to do the next video. And guess what, when you actually start to put a product out into the world, and you start to make money, guess what happens, you can start hiring a team, one member, by one member by one member, you can hire the help that you need to get to the level that you see these other people getting out into the world. But I guarantee you they’re not doing it by themselves. And they guarantee you they didn’t start at seven figures, they had to start somewhere. And that really is the key as hard as it is to accept is that you just have to start somewhere.
Laylee Emadi 13:36
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I love that example. And I think, I mean, I do think that it’s it’s so hard to look past people’s journeys and just look at their I mean, and not just look at their end result. We’re looking at their end results and not thinking about like, Oh, they didn’t start with this full team there. I mean, I would not consider myself to be like done in any way, shape or form. But I rerecorded my entire course last year. And when I listened back to the first videos, and the first audio recordings, man, were they not great? Like I What did you say start ugly early, I show ugly early. I sure did. It was it was it was embarrassing, but honestly, it it was embarrassing, but it was also so validating that like, wow, I can actually see the growth. And the content was great. It was serving my students, and everybody was doing well. But I just got better with practice. And so I do think there’s something to be said for like, jump in like this, the longer you wait to be bad at something. I mean, you could be good at it if you started being bad at it today. So I think that’s amazing.
Megan Martin 14:44
Yeah, I also liken it to the thought of reality TV versus the news. Right? So like, you have the news on on your TV. People are like the news casters are beautifully dressed in these like fancy suits. They’ve got their makeup all done up and they’re like Sitting poised and perfectly and talking to you and sharing the news, right? Do you sit there and just look at them talk? No, most people in the world have the news on the background and they’re listening, but they’re not actually fully engaged. Then you look at something like reality TV, where it’s just most of the time a hot mess, right? But people can’t tear their eyes away. They’re obsessed. What are the memes being shared their shared of reality TV of people acting wild, right. And so I even think about that, like, look at what people actually want, look at what people are actually excited to plug into and excited to relate to, right? Like, it’s not the hyper professionalized stuff, like people want to feel like they are relating to someone real, someone like them. And I think there’s a way that we can do that in our businesses, I think there’s a way that we can do that in our marketing. And I think there’s a way that we can do that in our products as well, that takes so much pressure off of this chase for perfection.
Laylee Emadi 15:57
I love that I love the real and raw, I think that’s so important. And I love what you said about finding finding that like sweet spot in your products, too. Which leads me to my next question. I love that you talk a lot about being innovative in creating new offers and things that are needed in your industry. And I’ve, I’ve seen your webinars, I’m in the digital lab, and I see you talking about this. And I think this is where a lot of people also get stuck. It’s like they get stuck in the over professionalism once they have the idea. But sometimes they have the idea. And they’re like, is this even worth anything? I don’t know. You know, and I guide my students do this probably in a little bit different of a way. And I’d love to hear what you what your take on. It is like, how do you innovate? When you feel like the industry is oversaturated with digital products with courses with content, like how do you not just become a voice amidst all the noise?
Megan Martin 16:50
Hmm, yeah, such an important question. I think the first thing I would say to like piggyback on what I just said is don’t focus on innovation on how you’re going to present your content. Like that is where I feel like we were looking like how can I be the next flashy thing, right? And that’s actually not helpful to anyone like your, the graphics that you can put on a video are not helpful, right? So instead of thinking about how can I innovate with the way that I’m going to present my content, I want you to think about how can I innovate to serve my customer better than the options that they currently have on the market. And so I think that the first thing that you have to do is actually know what is on the market. And an easy example that I’ve used in the past is thinking about a social media marketer, and that social media marketer knows about Canva, they know that Canva, you can create Tim templates on Canva. And so the natural thing to say is okay, I want to create some passive revenue. I’m a social media marketer, I know people sell Canva templates, so I’m going to sell Canva templates. And our natural instinct is to say, Okay, what is currently selling? Let me look at that. And I’ll try to put like a little bit of my unique twist on it. But I don’t want to rock the boat too much, because I want to make money. And so let me just go like in the direction of what’s currently being sold? Well, first of all, don’t do that, because you’re most likely going to copy. Even if it’s unintentionally, you’re going to start copy pasting. And again, that is like, also not helpful to anybody, because somebody doesn’t need the exact same product just from a different brand. Right? And also, that’s shouldn’t do that. But so I think let’s look at the market, not from like, how can I figure out what I should sell in terms of like relations to what other people are selling, but I want to see like, what is being sold? What do they have in terms of options? And what do I know about my customer? So if there’s, I’m imagining, like back to the day where everyone was like obsessed with fine art, in terms of like their graphics, right? Everything was like white and gray, very thin lines, right? So imagine, at that time Canvas filled with fine art style templates, right? So a natural thing to say is there’s a gap in the market, because there must be a human out there in the world that doesn’t like fine art, right? And so a way that you can come in and innovate is to know who your customer is, what are their likes, what are their preferences, what do they need? What are they struggling with? I guarantee you at that time in the world, when we were in our creative bubble of fine art, bespoke styles, right? I guarantee you, there were creatives who were trying to use Canva templates and manipulate a template made for say, someone who loves fine art and they’re trying to manipulate it to work for their bold, colorful style, right? That’s not going to work. But if you know that you have a customer that has the style that has that preference, you could innovate and create a product that’s perfectly for them, so they have to stop so they could stop struggling on the other side of the fence, right? You’re going to show up, you’re going to bring them a product that’s going to work exactly for their needs. And I think that is such a better focus, then how can I present myself? How can I present my brand to look better to look more professional to look like I have my stuff together? Instead of focusing on that when we are showing up, we’re focusing on how can we help our customers get the job better get the job done better than the options that they currently have.
Laylee Emadi 20:23
I love that thought process. I think it’s so helpful. And I think, you know, for anybody listening, who’s wondering, how do I even get started with that? I love this tip, because I feel like that’s something that not a lot of people do. We do kind of, again, live in this, you know, social media Society of I’m seeing this person do something I’m seeing this person doing, do it well make a lot of money doing it. I’m gonna do that, too. And that’s, I do think that that’s problematic for many reasons. So I really appreciate that guidance.
Megan Martin 20:53
Yeah, I think, I think if you just focus really on, what is the transformation of the product that you’re creating, and who is that transformation for? If you are hyper focused on that, it doesn’t matter what the delivery, like how professional the delivery is, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the website is, or the graphics on the slides, or whatever, if you are actually providing real value to someone on the other side of the screen, and they get some sort of solution to whatever problem that they have. They’re not going to care if you deliver that step by step instruction on a Google Doc versus the most gorgeously designed PDF, right, you get the same result, it just looks different. I had to teach myself this lesson as well, like the last year has taught me this lesson that I could spend a lot of time figuring out, or I could spend a lot of time or a lot of money hiring a team to create this amazing quality content. Or I could just open up my laptop, hit screenshare recorded off the fly, and publish it in a membership and serve somebody in five minutes over the five weeks that it would take for me to do the other version. And I think I think that’s why we grew so fast. And I think that’s why people stay.
Laylee Emadi 22:09
Yeah, absolutely. And I think like how many more people will be helped and impacted in those five weeks, so many more. And that’s, that’s such an important factor to keep in mind as well. So I love that. Okay, so we have a lot to think about. We’ve given the people so many things to think gone in this episode. But of course, as we wrap up, I’ve got to ask you what your unpopular opinion is maybe about like creating digital products, because I feel like the whole episode is an unpopular opinion. But maybe we could, we could take it a different way too.
Megan Martin 22:42
Yeah, my unpopular opinion is that you do not have to create this big huge product as a digital product. So like a lot of people, when they go into it, they’re you know, for example, if you want to create a course there, their mind goes straight to like this big, huge built out Signature Course, that’s like eight hours long, filled with many, many worksheets and workbooks and all the things and you can do that you could also start small, you could also start small and do a one hour recorded workshop and sell that maybe for a lower price. and use that to validate your huge offer that you could build later. I think a lot of people we like go straight to the big leagues. And if we would just start small, we could get the confidence that we need to do this. And also get into the weeds of learning how to build a sales funnel, how to connect with our customers, how to put ourselves out there, if you just start small, you can start having that impact quicker. And yeah, you’ll you’ll actually start seeing income quicker,
Laylee Emadi 23:42
I tend to say, you know, we are running this like imaginary race, I think in our minds just to keep up with what we think is happening. But honestly, if our businesses are supposed to have the longevity of our lives, because we own our own businesses, then what is the rush here? I think it’s so much better to strive for something that’s long lasting and can be consistent. Whether you’re showing up on Instagram, like some kind of rock star or not, versus just trying to jump the gun and and leaning on your face a little bit too often. I mean, obviously I am all for failure. I’m all for, you know, taking missteps and learning along the way. But I think that I like the concept of like starting slow and building up because I just think that it has it has so many benefits, like you said, so. I agree. I’m on board with that unpopular opinion. Thank you so much, Megan, for coming in. tell tell our friends again, like where can we find you again? You guys really check out the digital lab. It’s amazing. I’ll link it in the show notes. I can’t recommend it enough for sure.
Megan Martin 24:48
Yeah, you can find me at MeghanMartin.net. And there’s a quiz right on the homepage that you can take. It’s like the first button and if you’re wondering why That type of digital product would be good for you to create and sell that quiz will help you figure that out. And of course, we would love to welcome you inside the digital lab if you are interested in creating, selling and launching digital products.
Laylee Emadi 25:13
Thank you so much.
Megan Martin 25:14
Yes, thank you lately. I appreciate it.
Laylee Emadi 25:17
For show notes and resources mentioned on today’s episode head to so here’s the thing podcast.com and if you’re enjoying the podcast, I’d love to read your review on iTunes. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll catch you on the next episode.